If they didn’t know it already, Denair High students are being reminded this week of the evils of e-cigarettes, vaping, JUUL pins, and other tobacco-related products.
It’s a coordinated effort involving the school’s PHAST (Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco) Club and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
The series of information-related activities and events was highlighted Wednesday with a powerful presentation in the Denair gym by the father-daughter team of Ray and Brooke Lozano, who crisscross the country warning students about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol use.
“Ray asked for a show of hands who’s tried smoking in any form, and maybe 75 to 100 of our 275 students raised their hands,” said Melissa Treadwell, the PHAST Club adviser. “The kids think vaping is an alternative to smoking and that there’s no nicotine. They’re wrong.”
Denair High has a strict anti-tobacco policy. Any student caught with cigarettes, e-cigs, vaping devices or a JUUL pin (which looks like a flash drive) face suspensions of one to three days. Treadwell estimated there already have been eight instances involving boys and girls this school year – up from only two last year.
“It’s not just Denair High,” Treadwell said. “Everyone is struggling with it now.”
With that in mind, SCOE helped bring the Lozanos to Stanislaus County, where they put on presentations all week at various schools.
“Ray’s a really fun guy. The kids really pay attention to him,” Treadwell said.
Among the sobering bits of information shared Wednesday with Denair’s students and staff:
- One JUUL pod contains the equivalent of 20 cigarettes, a whole pack. That’s one reason JUUL pins are banned in the European Union.
- Smoking in any form harms adolescent brain development
- E-cigs contain many harmful and potentially cancer-causing chemicals, metals and nicotine
- Despite the hype, e-cigs are addictive, especially in adolescent brains, and can increase anxiety
- Flavors like cotton candy, bright colors, and pleasant-smelling smoke are among the guerilla marketing techniques makers use to mask the harmful byproducts of their products
Treadwell and the 22 members of Denair’s PHAST Club have spent much of this week sharing those and other dire warnings about e-cigs, vaping and JUUL pins. She believes that effort – coupled with the Lozanos’ presentation – will make a long-term difference.
“The kids were still talking about it Thursday,” she said. “Even the middle school kids – who weren’t there – were asking questions.”
The PHAST Club will be making anti-tobacco presentations in the coming weeks to students at Denair Middle School as well as Denair Elementary Charter Academy.
For more information, go to PHAST@stancoe.org or (209) 238-1382, or go to
DoSomething.org’s Escape the Vape guide.